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Drunk Drivers

Fairfax Injury Lawyer Brien Roche Addresses Drunk Drivers

Brien Roche

A man in Florida who suffers from brain damage due to a crash caused by a drunk driver was awarded $5 million in his personal injury claim.  In 2007 Dwight Grant, a passenger in a stopped vehicle, was hit by Matthew Lyons who was being pursued by the police.  After Lyons hit the car that Grant was in, Lyons left the scene.

Grant had fractures to his skull and face.  This hit and run crash caused traumatic brain injury to Grant’s frontal lobe.  Grant requires constant care due to the seizure disorder he now suffers from.

Defense counsel for Lyons claimed that Grant was not diligent in his rehab effort or in taking his medicine and that this made his condition worse. The jury found Grant 2% liable for his condition and this reduced his $15.4 million award.  The case settled for $5 million. Call, or contact us for a free consult.

Drunk Drivers and Uninsured Motorist Coverage

Although drunk drivers are sometimes punished through large court awards, more often than not those awards are unpaid.  Many people carry minimum insurance policy limits.  In fact in many areas drivers do not have to be insured. For instance in the state of Virginia, an owner is not required to have coverage. If however the owner does not have coverage then they must pay an uninsured motorist fee.

That results in a number of drivers on the road who are not insured. If you are struck by a drunk driver who is not insured then your recovery is limited to your uninsured motorist coverage. You may be able to recover up to whatever your uninsured motorist limits are.

The odd thing about an uninsured motorist claim is that it puts you adverse to your own insurance company.  That is you are seeking to recover money based upon the conduct of a third party.  However the entity that is going to be paying you for that conduct of the third party is your own insurer. The purpose of uninsured motorist coverage is to provide you (the insured) a source of recovery in the event that at-fault driver is either not insured or not adequately insured.

Drunk Driving Crash May Be Basis For Punitive Damages.

People injured in drunk driving crashes may pursue both claims for compensatory damages and punitive damages. Across the country thousands of people die every year because of alcohol related crashes. In Virginia almost a third of all traffic deaths involve alcohol.

In most cases the victim can only claim what are called “compensatory damages”. If the party causing the injury was a drunk driver, then punitive damages may be allowed. Punitive damages go beyond compensatory damages. They are designed to punish the wrongdoer for that person’s conduct.

First of all the victim must prove the drunk driver had a blood alcohol content that exceeds .15. In addition the victim must prove that at the time of the crash the driver knew or should have known that his ability to drive a car was impaired. In addition the victim must prove the drunk driver knew he would be impaired if he got drunk and indeed that driver’s state then caused damage to the victim. Even if the victim does not have a claim for punitive damages she has a claim for compensatory damages, i.e. to be compensated fully and fairly for her injuries.

In an effort to combat drunk driving in the state of Virginia, Governor Terry McAuliffe introduced the Virginia Faces of Drunk Driving website.  McAuliffe dedicated the Tumblr site to the people whose lives were ended by drunk drivers and also to those who have been left behind.

Drunk Driving Deaths

Drunk driving deaths in 2013 increased for the first time in six years in the state of Virginia.

The Virginia Faces of Drunk Driving profiles those victims. It shows them in happier times prior to their deaths. It contains stories about the victims written by their loved ones who live on.  The goal behind Virginia Faces of Drunk Driving is to deter future drunk drivers from even getting on the road.

As McAuliffe said, “Given that drunk driving is a 100% preventable crime, even one death is too many. I am committed to reducing drunk driving deaths by continuing our enforcement efforts. In addition to raising awareness with Virginians that we all have a responsibility to keep our Commonwealth safe. This new process provides intimate photos of persons lost to drunk driving. It shows the tragic burden it places on survivors. Our aim is to save lives and stop drunk driving before it starts.”

Almost two Virginians die every three days on average due to drunk drivers. In 2013, 253 Virginians were killed in traffic crashes that involved alcohol use.  That was an increase of nearly 10.5% in 2013 compared to the prior five years. Those prior years had shown declines in deaths due to drunk driving. Call, or contact us for a free consult.

Drunk Driving Srikeforce

In 2002 Virginia began Checkpoint Strikeforce which was designed to get drunk drivers off the roadways. The Strikeforce uses checkpoints, patrols and education about the dangers and fallout of drunk driving.  Although Virginia’s goal is to target all potential drunk drivers, the campaign focuses on males aged 21 to 35.  This demographic represents an estimated 1/3 of all Virginians killed in alcohol-involved crashes last year.

Alcohol Detectors

Alcohol detectors are now good enough that they detect the presence of alcohol in a person’s body. This is technology that has been developed in the last several years as a result of the interest in sniffing out terrorist bombs.  Auto makers and federal safety regulators are working to improve these sensing devices. That would keep a vehicle from starting if the driver had too much alcohol in his or her system. Many areas now require an ignition interlock system on cars driven by people convicted of DWI/DUI.

With this new technology the sensing device could be set at the prohibited level of alcohol content and if the driver was at or above that level then the driver would not be able to start the vehicle.

In Virginia a conviction means a one year loss of license with the right to have a restricted license. The ignition interlock is required to get the restricted license.

Alcohol was a factor in over 10,000 highway deaths in the year 2009.  In the past 20  years it has accounted for over a quarter million deaths.  In recent surveys approximately 10% of the people in the United States have admitted to being drunk behind the wheel during the one year prior to the survey.

For more information on drunk drivers, see the other pages on this site and see the pages on Wikipedia. Call, or contact us for a free consult.

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Drunk Drivers

Fairfax Injury Lawyer Brien Roche Addresses Drunk Drivers

Brien Roche

A man in Florida who suffers from brain damage due to a crash caused by a drunk driver was awarded $5 million in his personal injury claim.  In 2007 Dwight Grant, a passenger in a stopped vehicle, was hit by Matthew Lyons who was being pursued by the police.  After Lyons hit the car that Grant was in, Lyons left the scene.

Grant had fractures to his skull and face.  This hit and run crash caused traumatic brain injury to Grant’s frontal lobe.  Grant requires constant care due to the seizure disorder he now suffers from.

Defense counsel for Lyons claimed that Grant was not diligent in his rehab effort or in taking his medicine and that this made his condition worse. The jury found Grant 2% liable for his condition and this reduced his $15.4 million award.  The case settled for $5 million. Call, or contact us for a free consult.

Drunk Drivers and Uninsured Motorist Coverage

Although drunk drivers are sometimes punished through large court awards, more often than not those awards are unpaid.  Many people carry minimum insurance policy limits.  In fact in many areas drivers do not have to be insured. For instance in the state of Virginia, an owner is not required to have coverage. If however the owner does not have coverage then they must pay an uninsured motorist fee.

That results in a number of drivers on the road who are not insured. If you are struck by a drunk driver who is not insured then your recovery is limited to your uninsured motorist coverage. You may be able to recover up to whatever your uninsured motorist limits are.

The odd thing about an uninsured motorist claim is that it puts you adverse to your own insurance company.  That is you are seeking to recover money based upon the conduct of a third party.  However the entity that is going to be paying you for that conduct of the third party is your own insurer. The purpose of uninsured motorist coverage is to provide you (the insured) a source of recovery in the event that at-fault driver is either not insured or not adequately insured.

Drunk Driving Crash May Be Basis For Punitive Damages.

People injured in drunk driving crashes may pursue both claims for compensatory damages and punitive damages. Across the country thousands of people die every year because of alcohol related crashes. In Virginia almost a third of all traffic deaths involve alcohol.

In most cases the victim can only claim what are called “compensatory damages”. If the party causing the injury was a drunk driver, then punitive damages may be allowed. Punitive damages go beyond compensatory damages. They are designed to punish the wrongdoer for that person’s conduct.

First of all the victim must prove the drunk driver had a blood alcohol content that exceeds .15. In addition the victim must prove that at the time of the crash the driver knew or should have known that his ability to drive a car was impaired. In addition the victim must prove the drunk driver knew he would be impaired if he got drunk and indeed that driver’s state then caused damage to the victim. Even if the victim does not have a claim for punitive damages she has a claim for compensatory damages, i.e. to be compensated fully and fairly for her injuries.

In an effort to combat drunk driving in the state of Virginia, Governor Terry McAuliffe introduced the Virginia Faces of Drunk Driving website.  McAuliffe dedicated the Tumblr site to the people whose lives were ended by drunk drivers and also to those who have been left behind.

Drunk Driving Deaths

Drunk driving deaths in 2013 increased for the first time in six years in the state of Virginia.

The Virginia Faces of Drunk Driving profiles those victims. It shows them in happier times prior to their deaths. It contains stories about the victims written by their loved ones who live on.  The goal behind Virginia Faces of Drunk Driving is to deter future drunk drivers from even getting on the road.

As McAuliffe said, “Given that drunk driving is a 100% preventable crime, even one death is too many. I am committed to reducing drunk driving deaths by continuing our enforcement efforts. In addition to raising awareness with Virginians that we all have a responsibility to keep our Commonwealth safe. This new process provides intimate photos of persons lost to drunk driving. It shows the tragic burden it places on survivors. Our aim is to save lives and stop drunk driving before it starts.”

Almost two Virginians die every three days on average due to drunk drivers. In 2013, 253 Virginians were killed in traffic crashes that involved alcohol use.  That was an increase of nearly 10.5% in 2013 compared to the prior five years. Those prior years had shown declines in deaths due to drunk driving. Call, or contact us for a free consult.

Drunk Driving Srikeforce

In 2002 Virginia began Checkpoint Strikeforce which was designed to get drunk drivers off the roadways. The Strikeforce uses checkpoints, patrols and education about the dangers and fallout of drunk driving.  Although Virginia’s goal is to target all potential drunk drivers, the campaign focuses on males aged 21 to 35.  This demographic represents an estimated 1/3 of all Virginians killed in alcohol-involved crashes last year.

Alcohol Detectors

Alcohol detectors are now good enough that they detect the presence of alcohol in a person’s body. This is technology that has been developed in the last several years as a result of the interest in sniffing out terrorist bombs.  Auto makers and federal safety regulators are working to improve these sensing devices. That would keep a vehicle from starting if the driver had too much alcohol in his or her system. Many areas now require an ignition interlock system on cars driven by people convicted of DWI/DUI.

With this new technology the sensing device could be set at the prohibited level of alcohol content and if the driver was at or above that level then the driver would not be able to start the vehicle.

In Virginia a conviction means a one year loss of license with the right to have a restricted license. The ignition interlock is required to get the restricted license.

Alcohol was a factor in over 10,000 highway deaths in the year 2009.  In the past 20  years it has accounted for over a quarter million deaths.  In recent surveys approximately 10% of the people in the United States have admitted to being drunk behind the wheel during the one year prior to the survey.

For more information on drunk drivers, see the other pages on this site and see the pages on Wikipedia. Call, or contact us for a free consult.

Contact Us For A Free Consultation

Contact Us For A Free Consultation